Abdulla Shahid, president of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), commended Cambodia for sending peacekeeping forces under the UN umbrella to a number of countries around the world on humanitarian missions and for successfully chairing ASEAN this year in a manner that has drawn compliments from many other nations.

Shahid, president of the UNGA’s 76th Session, paid an official visit to Cambodia on August 21-22.

Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on August 22, Shahid said he had expressed his appreciation and commended the premier for having brought peace to Cambodia by leaving no one behind and not taking revenge, but instead urging the integration of his former opponents across the country.

According to Hun Sen’s personal assistant Eang Sophalleth, Shahid also hailed his leadership in growing the Kingdom’s economy, under which Cambodia has been able to develop rapidly and Phnom Penh has emerged as a city “much like” those in more developed countries.

“[Shahid] also appreciated [Cambodia] sending peacekeeping troops under the UN umbrella to several countries in the world to safeguard peace,” Sophalleth said.

“Cambodia used to receive assistance from UN blue helmets, but has now become a nation which sends troops to help keep the peace in other countries. This is a huge success that indicates the positive change here,” Shahid was quoted as saying.

“[Shahid] placed a high value on our leadership and our ASEAN chairmanship, which has received praise from other countries around the world,” Sophalleth said.

He added that Shahid commended Cambodia for its progress towards developing into an upper-middle income country by 2030 and into a high-income nation by 2050.

Following the meeting, Shahid confirmed that the discussions touched on Cambodia’s recent transformation, its initiatives as ASEAN chair, UN’s Covid-19 vaccine support and the government’s efforts in relation to human rights.

“I commended Cambodia for its contribution to multilateralism and UN peacekeeping,” Shahid tweeted.

National Assembly (NA) president Heng Samrin said at a meeting with Shahid that the NA supported the missions and the roles of the UN, especially the role of the UN Security Council in expressing solidarity, maintaining

peace and international security as well as solving ongoing problems and disputes around the globe.

Samrin said Shahid mentioned the close and indispensable relationship between the UN and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and that Cambodia is a model country known for transforming itself from a war-torn nation that had received much support from the UN in the early 1990s to a prominent player in the region today.

“Our second Kingdom of Cambodia came into existence with the active support of the UN, which enables Cambodia to make an active contribution with various international partners within the executive and legislative frameworks to achieve the agendas it sets, including the 2030 development agenda,” he said in a social media post.

Samrin recalled that in the early 1990s, after the Paris Peace Agreements was established, the UN had sent peacekeeping forces to assist Cambodia, including in organising the 1993 general election.

Now, however, from 2006 through today, Cambodia has sent more than 8,000 peacekeeping troops to join 11 missions in nine countries and is ranked as number 28 out of 122 countries for the size of its contributions in this area.

Samrin also said that from the first mandate to the sixth mandate, the NA has made an active contribution to keeping the peace and building peace in the region and the globe as part of the legislative branch.

Shahid said in a tweet after meeting with Samrin that both sides had a thoughtful conversation on the role of parliaments in global multilateralism, and also recalled the UN’s contributions in Cambodia and their growing partnerships on various issues.

Shahid further tweeted that he had a very successful meeting with Ouch Borith, the Minister attached to the Prime Minister and permanent secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, where they discussed several issues including human rights and collaboration on global challenges.